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A journey into epic cyberspace, and the branding of a hipster skyscraper

Ian Martin redesigns the internet

MONDAY. Amazing start to the week. I’ve been commissioned to redesign the internet.

Details of my appointment are being kept vague at the moment to avoid any legal confusion, as technically nobody owns the internet. It’s everybody’s. This late-Soviet economic model is good news for my clients, about whom I can say nothing, except to confirm they are an international consortium with headquarters inside a defunct Micronesian volcano.

Oh, there are commercial empires ON the internet, just as there were once commercial empires on the high street. But like USSR gas reserves, the internet is without value until some commercial warlord in boot-cut jeans buys it and announces it’s worth a fortune and then moves to a luxury fortress in London to avoid being killed by sinister robot wolves.

The opportunity is here and graspable. Any volcano-based consortium with vision is thinking about how to refashion the internet. I am proud to be helping to push things along with my literally priceless cyberscape architecture skillset.

TUESDAY. Morning: design an eggbox cathedral. Afternoon: design a dried pasta primary school.

WEDNESDAY. Because the internet is so vast, I’ve decided to simplify things by thinking of it in terms of an English urban regeneration masterplan.

First, I will carry out a psychogeographical audit. Then, I will ‘quantify the investment offer’. Then I will divide the internet into designated quarters. Then I will get a Taiwanese rendering agency to bang out some optimistic impressions of how the internet might look in the future.

There will be balloons and people will be the shape of spring onions, and the parents will be pointing and the children will be laughing. Or are my critics suggesting that in the future of the internet there should BE no children’s laughter?

THURSDAY. Have entered a design competition. Residential skyscraper at the happening end of Hackney. Hapney. Predictably, so has everyone else. Got to pull something pretty special out of my 1963 hipster briefcase.

The competition sponsors want to ‘create interest in the skyline’. I think this means ‘make people look up’. You could do that by having someone waving from the roof, but my guess is they want a landmark building.

As ever, this competition will be won not by innovative engineering or ‘design flair’ or environmental sucking-up, but by strength of nickname. After a few hours on my mental scribbling pad I’ve got the vague shape: elegant vintage brickwork turning in on itself with brown shades and an ickle hat. Maybe call it The Torqued About.

No, sod that. Let’s make it as tall as the Shard, turn the ground floor into a retro arcade full of farmers’ micromarkets and vinyl record shops and ironic racism. Yeah, done. The hipster skyscraper. Call it The Blard.

FRIDAY. Sketch out my internet do-over. The cyberscape topography will remain the same, obviously. Best to avoid expensive cyber-geo-engineering works. All outlying desert and tundra, wildernesses and porn oceans will be unaffected.

The internet’s built-up bits will be completely rationalised. I’m proposing a vibrant global ‘town centre’ where everyone who really matters – heartless young people with disposable income – can congregate in a giant Mall Of The Internet. All the useful stuff will be housed in a utilitarian Learning Quarter at the cheap end of town, where scholars and weirdos and wikipediaphiles can go, good riddance. Beyond this, a curtain-twitching suburbia for Twitter and Facebook and all the other defensible-space new Urbanist networks where people mind your business for you and swap stories about kooky pets.

My favourite bit is the Heritage Quarter, where I plan to preserve all websites retaining original pre-1995 javascript features. Gathering together random lumps of our collective history into an ‘internet destination’ will be big business, if the real-world parallel’s anything to go by.

Summary: more interactive, more interfactive, porous, passive-aggressive but with your initials in the foam, not the Wednesday night Channel 4 thing, but not the Friday night Channel 4 thing either.

Yeah, you mumble, but will it ‘cost’ anything to be somewhere on the internet, in this cyberscaped future? Idiots. Ask yourself if it’s costing you to be wherever you are now, lol.

SATURDAY. Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Architectural Feminism 2, Patriarchitectural Madmenism wins, the score’s irrelevant, sorry that’s just the way it is.

SUNDAY.Have a little lie-down in the pop-up recliner.

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